Business giants join forces to help deliver special needs trike

Les, Lewis and mum Dawn and Abhishek Pratap Singh

A part-time inventor whose design for a trike for special needs children caught the public’s attention has received the backing of a second global business to help bring his work to market.

Les McMahon is working with Manchester-based Insync Bikes to perfect the trike he engineered for his young neighbour.

And his social media posts about the trike’s progress have caught the eye of metal framing manufacturer Unistrut, which has pledged to lend its expertise.

Les, from Ellenbrook, Worsley, made the original trike in his garden shed to enable 13-year-old neighbour Lewis Flint to get out on the roads with his parents, Dawn and Andy.

The trike shot to prominence in June 2019 when the media reported that he was working with designers at Insync, which is owned by India’s Hero Cycles, the world’s biggest bike maker by volume.

Les has regularly tweeted about the progress of his invention and, when he asked for donations of Unistrut off-cuts, the West Midlands-based business responded to say it would help with the design aspects and offer advice on flat-packing.

The trike involves a ‘sidecar’ fitted to a bike, with a ramp to roll on the wheelchair.

Once plans are finalised the trike will be made available in a flat-pack kit, or as a downloadable design, under Hero’s Insync family bike brand.

It will cost around £500, compared with alternatives that start at £5,000.

Les said: “The chances of getting one global company on board with this were slim, but to get two is unbelievable.

“We’re trying to solve the problems now so that we can produce something that is like a Meccano for grown-ups, making it easy for anyone to build so that we can benefit as many people as possible.”

Martin Beard, marketing manager for Unistrut, based in West Bromwich, said: “It is easy to see that Les is doing a great thing and, although the design is his creation, we are trying to support with alternative options and assist him with ideas for the possibilities of flat packing the frame.”

Abhishek Pratap Singh, head of design at Insync, said: “Insync is very proud and happy about continued association with Les.

“He has been working very hard with our studio designers to improve the design for lightweight structure, mass manufacturing and cost.

“We are also very happy to welcome Unistrut in this project as it is truly a community-driven project and needs more partners who add value. Unistrut undoubtedly brings in lot of expertise and knowledge about structures.

“The project is a true reflection of Insync’s brand values which, at their core, are about making cycling accessible to every member of the family.”